Entertainment :: Music

The Postman And The Poet

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Wednesday Mar 27, 2013
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Metaphor: a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in "this musical is like a mirage in an ice block: it looks as if it might be attractive, but it’s too fuzzy and obstructed to know for sure." This poetic concept provides much of the backbone for the new British musical, "The Postman and the Poet," which has been given a cast recording by JAY Records. The musical tells the story of two lovers, set against the backdrop of the political turmoil in Chile between 1971 and 1973. It is based on the 1985 book, "Ardiente Paciencia" by Antonio Skarmeta, the same source for the 1994 Oscar-winning movie, "Il Postino."

The plot is not unique, and takes many of its themes and ideas from the works of Andrew Lloyd Webber and ├╝ber-producer, Cameron Mackintosh. Take a quart of Webber’s musical, "Evita," mix it with a few tablespoons of his "Sunset Boulevard," add any Boublil and Schonberg musical, throw in a dash of "Man of La Mancha," and you’re very close to creating "The Postman and the Poet." The book scenes that appear on this 2-CD set are well constructed, and several of composer Michael Jeffrey’s themes show some innovation, but the lyrics lack wit, and the performances lack passion, creating a recording that fails to realize its full potential.

John Yap, who has been recording soundtracks for over 30 years, is to be commended for taking a risk on this property, using this soundtrack to cross-promote several of the artists with solo recordings in the JAY catalogue. However, the story is slow to evolve and the relationship between the two title characters, the poet in the title referring to famed Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, doesn’t give the listener clear enough imagery to win us over with its words.

"The Postman and the Poet (Original Cast Recording)"
Michael Jeffrey / Eden Phillips / Ethan Freeman / Joanna Ampil
CD and digital formats
JAY Records

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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